If you're asking yourself if you need a LinkedIn profile, the answer is yes. Here's why.
You have probably asked yourself: Do I really need a LinkedIn profile? If your resume is already strong, what's the point?
With LinkedIn hosting over 600 million professional profiles, there is a seemingly endless array of job opportunities to be pursued and networking connections to be made. While there are definitely some concerns over pricing (of the paid version) and the effectiveness of the social media site, overall, LinkedIn is an important part of being a full-fledged professional in any industry these days.
Here are a few reasons why you should consider taking the time to create a LinkedIn profile:
1. Increase your searchability
Some companies search for future employees by looking through LinkedIn before they actually post the job online, causing your profile to become a pseudo-resume. To be ready for this, your LinkedIn profile should contain all your updated professional experience with some personal spice sprinkled in.
The first few lines of your profile — name, title, and most recent positions — are actually the most crucial. Those three parts show up in a LinkedIn search, along with your photo, so make sure to add a recent and clear picture of yourself as well.
While LinkedIn is more casual than a resume and you could use less formal terminology, make sure to avoid overly used, fluffy words that will not help you — no recruiter ever searched for “passionate engineer” or “results-oriented” anything on LinkedIn.
Your LinkedIn profile might be the first professional impression someone has of you. Even if you don't join groups or actively search for a job on the site, LinkedIn profiles are searchable on Google and recruiters, hiring managers, and even executives actively look. In fact, many companies look up Facebook and LinkedIn profiles to see what kind of information is posted about a candidate before they hire, so post carefully.
2. Tap into the job board
It is estimated that more than 600 million people worldwide have a LinkedIn profile. There's no wonder why employers are tapping into this resource to look for future employees.
If you're currently in the market for a new position, you want to consider the possibility that your LinkedIn profile may be found well before you apply or present a resume. If a recruiter likes the information in your profile, the resume may serve as just a back-up piece to verify your past.
You can also utilize LinkedIn to look for jobs using keywords and location, and as well as researching companies that you may be interested in working for and connecting with employees you may (or may not) know there who can help you get your foot in the door.
You can also apply to a position directly through the job posting. While some job postings will take you to the company's website, many will allow you to apply by uploading your resume via LinkedIn. Even if you're not actively seeking new employment, you can set job alerts based on your career interests to regularly receive email updates and stay in the loop.
3. Build your professional brand
For some people, LinkedIn can serve as a professional website, and it's typically easier to get your LinkedIn page to show up in a Google search versus your homemade website or online portfolio. If your LinkedIn profile is the first thing a prospective employer will see, you want to know how to optimize the content to make it work for you and to help it elevate your professional brand.
LinkedIn is actually set up a lot like a resume; there's a title and summary area, positions are listed chronologically, and there is room for awards and memberships. As with a resume, you can use beneficial, descriptive words, so don't be afraid to transfer information directly from your resume to LinkedIn.
Not sure how to create a profile that upholds your professional brand and impresses recruiters who might come across it? A professional can help with that. Our expert writers will help you craft a keyword optimized profile that highlights your achievements and skills while also helping you stand out in a search.
4. Showcase your personality
LinkedIn is also a great place to add personal details that wouldn't normally be appropriate for a resume. Hobbies, professional organizations, school clubs, and non-work certifications give a recruiter more personal information about you that can be used as conversation starters.
This ability to showcase your personality also helps when connecting with colleagues and other professionals on the site. It gives those connections a chance to get to know you beyond just your professional aspirations.
When it comes to your job search and career, networking is crucial — and LinkedIn is such an important networking tool. It makes it easy to connect with professionals in your industry, colleagues from your job, and more. Even if you're an introvert and hate networking events, you can still foster meaningful LinkedIn connections.
LinkedIn also allows you to keep in touch with connections you've made in your past. Remember that professional you met at that conference three years ago who gave you advice on how to climb the ladder in your industry? Or that friend of a friend who was interested in freelancing for your company? Probably not.
Rather than trying to remember their contact information or adding their email addresses to your outdated address book, add these folks on LinkedIn when you meet them, noting how you met or know them to help remind you later. Keep them in your connections so one day you can reconnect when the time's right.
Think of LinkedIn as another job-seeking tool, in addition to your resume, and utilize it accordingly. You don't want to miss out on opportunities because you don't have a profile, do you?
Need help creating or updating your LinkedIn profile? Our expert writers will help you write a keyword optimized profile that will make you stand out from the rest.
This article was updated in June 2020. It was originally written by Soozy G. Miller.